Sunday, January 23, 2005

Hive Mind

Yesterday we got some snow, and today it’s cold and windy. The dinner plan for tonight was to have lentil soup…a nice, warm soup for a chilly, blustery day. But this afternoon I was craving blondies and needed butter to make them. (BTW, whatever happened to borrowing a stick of butter or cup of sugar from the neighbor? Do people still do that? It’s for the best that I bought my own, though, since I messed up my recipe and had to start over. I’m sure it wouldn’t go over well with the neighbor if I borrowed butter and then headed out to the store an hour later to buy some of my own, as if hers wasn’t good enough.) Since I was already going to the store, I decided to improve upon the dinner plan and upgrade to a pot of chili. So I bundled up the toddler, and off we went.

The store was not nearly as crowded as it usually is on a Sunday, which I took to be a good sign. It’s typically hard to find what you want on a Sunday because everybody is doing weekly shopping; however, with the store nearly empty, the shelves were all neatly stocked. I had a short list: butter (for the blondies), a can of biscuits, cheddar cheese, kidney beans, and ground beef. After cruising through the dairy aisle, I turned into the aisle for the beans and, imagine my horror, found that the bean shelves were almost completely empty. There were plenty of black-eyed peas, but there wasn’t a can of kidney beans to be found anywhere in the store. Eventually, I found a few cans of Goya pintos and settled for those. (FYI, I don’t have anything against pintos or Goya. I’ve just always used kidney beans for chili, and so did my mom. As for the beans being Goya, I just thought it was funny that everybody went for Progresso and Bush’s before resorting to Goya, as if they thought the Goya beans weren’t good enough.)

I know there are things that are well-known comfort foods (pot roast, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup, etc.), but I had no clue that the idea of chili on a cold winter night was so universally appealing as to leave a grocery store without beans. I also know that the Super Bowl is approaching and that chili is advertised in conjunction with Super Bowl parties, but the “big game” is still 2 weeks away, and let’s face it, not many people plan that far in advance.

I’ve checked the store’s ad, and they weren’t pushing chili, in fact, they were pushing “Italian Favorites.” Besides, if they were pushing chili, they would have been prepared for the onslaught of bean buyers. I suspect that the bean rush occurred on Friday, when everyone was mobbing the store for bread and milk in preparation for the big snowstorm (a whopping 3 inches or so). Speaking of preparedness, if there is such a hive-mind mentality that chili is a staple for the cold weather, why doesn’t the store stock up on beans in the winter in the same way that they stock up on stuffing mix and cranberries for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

In the meantime, the chili is simmering on the stove. I’ll let you know how it turns out with the pintos.

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